Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time outside. All summer I took my laptop and worked from outdoor cafes and backyards. Now come fall – my favorite season – I can’t get enough. I’m always walking around or dancing outside. The AIR, people. The air.
Last week, sitting on some funky deck furniture, I saw a spider jumping from hole to hole on a table. She moved continuously and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Let’s affectionately roll with “she” for this post please ;)
“This spider is NUTS,” I thought. “She jumps not knowing where she’ll land.” Few seconds later. “What the… she knows nothing’s there. This can’t be what all spiders do.” “Doesn’t she care I could knock out her web in one second?!”
Life gets emotional round these parts. I can’t help it. I’m incredulous when I watch animals or bugs do their thing.
I watched for a long time. My watching turned to noticing, and then I stopped feeling shocked. I saw she was bold. She leapt when the moment felt right. She took calculated risks.
Soon, spidey kinda reminded me of me.
See 2015 and 2016 have been years of transition and training for me (here’s a refresher.) I thought I had certain areas of my life handled, but realized over the last 18 months I had to go deeper into self-trust, boundaries, love and family relationships. I resisted at first, but on a soul-level, I knew I had to do the work. So the last 18 months have been straight up boot-camp in loving myself, having hard conversations, and learning how to tolerate uncomfortable situations that don’t have solutions.
Your average light-hearted stuff.
Watching this spidey reminded me of what’s felt like a million leaps to get back to a place I could trust – in my life and in myself. Every leap caused fear, but also healed and at times, even brought joy.
Here’s what I learned from spidey. If you’re in transition or going into deeper parts of your life, maybe you’ll see yourself in her too. Tsss. Tsss. Let’s get our wrists working overtime people :)
She leap FIRST and built her web WHILE she leapt.
I saw her propel thread mid-air as she leapt to the other side. She didn’t wait around and say, “Nope, I don’t see threads or a net so I can’t jump today.” Whether or not she knew it, she took huge personal responsibility for her life by jumping. I don’t care if you’re human or a spider, personal responsibility is HARD. Period.
When you realize you can’t eat until you catch food or you’ll bleed until you dress your wound, it’s very confronting. So confronting I didn’t do it for YEARS. Years. I waited for approval. For apologies. Waited for people to say “We see you, Ishita, you strong-hearted, truth-teller.” But years went by and I kept falling down with no net. Now I realize that me taking personal responsibility was my net and the ticket out of frustrating waiting around.
You know why we don’t do it, right?
Because the moment you leap, ALL your fears come flying at your face. Failure. Loneliness. Rejection.
When you know no one will come save, fix, or even help you, that it’s up to YOU, it scares you to death.
So we stay in terrible situations until the only thing that pushes us off is more pain. When I really got that my sanity rested on me owning up to staying in or leaving painful situations, I really got that I had to jump in order to be happy.
At first, it sucked. Felt like I was dying. Mid-air is not a place I like to be for long. But once I did it, I felt free. Just a few seconds before I had felt intense fear. But the second I landed, I felt sheer giddy joy. Joy of getting to the other side. Holy crap did I just do that?!
It’s totally unimaginable and ridiculous before you leap and totally absolute once you do.
I can’t explain it. You gotta just try it and see how you do. :)
If you’re waiting to know every step or for an apology or for them to choose you, it’s costing you. The net isn’t going to appear. Though people love you, they can’t – and won’t – build the net for you. Waiting cost me time and money and oh so much energy.
Back to spidey.
She built her web by connecting ONE thread at a time. Step by step.
Watching her was hard because she painstakingly built ONE thread at a time. Who has time for that! I kept thinking, “Can’t she leap a little quicker? Can’t she propel the thread before she leaps so it’ll already be done by the time she gets to the other side?”
What a wake up call for me.
It’s embarrassing how many times I’ve messed things up by running too fast and trying to skip steps. My desire for results NOW and the pressure I put on myself has burned bridges, burned me out, and left me with skinned knees.
A masterpiece painting takes years. Rome wasn’t built in a day. People don’t say this stuff for no reason.
Life itself takes time, experience and multiple screw ups/do-overs before you *get* it.
Spidey showed me that as long as I kept connecting one thread at a time without rushing or running, I’d have a web before I knew it.
As she created new threads, she didn’t dis the old ones.
I have many seemingly disparate threads in my life. Seven years ago I said, “How the hell do I connect medical school, photography, clinical psychology, and entrepreneurship?” It used to feel like nonsense, but now it just makes sense. Every experience is a different curve; some curves I learned new skills or refined parts of my personality, some curves allowed me to mess up without too much consequence. All were valuable and I can’t explain the truth of my path any better than I can my blood type. Every curve just IS. The fact that they happened created my path, so part of me taking personal responsibility is owning and USING them to propel me forward. Integration. Not dissing. Nothing is ever wasted – schooling, experience, knowledge – unless you say it is.
Spidey still has to jump TODAY to survive.
I’m sure spidey’s built a few crap webs that didn’t last a rainstorm or a kid punching his way through it – I myself have walked into webs and like a lunatic waved my hands and torn the whole thing down. But it doesn’t matter if she feels bad because she still has to leap TODAY to survive. If she drags past hurts into today, she won’t build a web, won’t catch bugs, won’t eat, and won’t survive. Humans, on the other hand, think we live fully dragging our wounds from Monday to Sunday, but we don’t. Really, it takes a huge toll on us. She doesn’t think, “But my webs get destroyed all the time. What’s the point? No one cares if I build it anyway.” She doesn’t fret about all her hard work being destroyed in one fell swoop. Is that courageous or what? To build with your whole heart every single time. That’s the kind of courage I want to have in my life.
I learned so much from this spidey. Didn’t you?
It’s a gorgeous thing to be able to learn from animals and bugs. It brought me smack into the middle of my life and grounded me in what’s important. Wherever you are in life right now – a sticky situation or a beautiful one – creation mode or setting the metaphorical house on fire, keep these lessons in mind if they help. I know from the bottom of my heart if you trust yourself and take it one step at time, your net will appear far sooner than if you don’t leap.